It lives! It breathes! It’s…coming soon?!
Nathaniel Hawthorne once said that families are always rising and falling in America. You may be more familiar with that quote from the movie "The Departed," although Leonardo DiCaprio's character butchered it quite thoroughly. But no matter which way you say it the same thing holds true when it comes to the auto industry. During the gas crises of the mid-to-late 2000s no one would have suspected that the muscle car wars would be back at full tilt. Now we’re in the midst of another family's revival: the Japanese sports car.
The previous greats included the Nissan Skyline GT-R, Honda NSX, and the Toyota Supra. The first two cars, the NSX and GT-R, are already on sale today. The Supra is late to the party, but as our spy photographers prove it does indeed plan on at least showing up. Unfortunately for Toyota purists, this rendition will be a bit of a Frankenstein. Years of building front-wheel-drive passenger cars has made Toyota unfamiliar with and scared of the idea of a RWD platform, at least when it comes to cars. But fortunately Toyota isn't alone in this endeavor. BMW, in need of a replacement for the now-dead Z4 coupe, agreed to partner up with the Japanese automaker.
As a chassis tuning master, the German automaker is rumored to handle the suspension and rear-wheel-drive tuning. On the other hand, Toyota has spent its recent years mastering the hybrid drivetrain, so it will bring its electrified talents to the two-door sports car after the first gas-powered models go on sale, if the rumors hold true that is. Upon release the Supra should have two engine options available, one being a six-cylinder and the other a four-banger. Both will be turbocharged.The engines may be from BMW given its experience with turbocharging. However, previous whispers suggest that Lexus is baking a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 for the car.
If that goes to plan the engine will come kicking and screaming with 400 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. Once these power plant options gain traction, Toyota’s hybrid version may hit the market with the electric motors optimized for both performance and fuel economy. In either case, BMW will likely do its best to set the car apart from its own line of M-branded sports cars in order to avoid cannibalizing sales. On the Toyota end of things, we can expect the Supra (which has not been totally confirmed yet) to slot above the Toyota 86. Like the 86, the Supra is among the same class of joint effort sports cars made by manufacturers that still want to appease customers but avoid steep development costs.
Inside the car we can see that this means a BMW steering wheel and turning stalks. Outside, the camouflage makes it hard to distinguish, but the design looks to be more Toyota than BMW. Still, the Supra tester we see here bears little resemblance to the FT-1 that Toyota used as tinder to start the Supra revival rumor fire. Here, the front of the car looks a bit subdued and lacking while the rear has what it takes to make onlookers do a double take. In either case, we can’t wait to see what the finished product looks like when the wraps are pulled back. For now, all we can do is wave back at that lucky test driver.